COVID-19 School Reopening in Thailand
While Thailand successfully managed to keep COVID-19 numbers very low early in the pandemic, cases began to spike in mid-2021 and continue to grow over the subsequent months. This led to government-mandated closures of school campuses from April onward and a directive to provide online learning as an alternative in order to ensure continuity in learning, with no set date for COVID-19 school reopening.
Like many other international schools in Bangkok, one of the regions hit hardest by the pandemic, NIST maintained an online learning model that included both synchronous and asynchronous elements. Varied by level, these opportunities allowed students to maintain a connection to their teachers and peers throughout the period of online learning.
The 2021-2022 school year began with Bangkok international schools still being required to continue online learning. In mid-October NIST received permission from the government to resume on-campus lessons with a hybrid model, and as of 8 November 2021 will be shifting to full on-campus learning for all students.
In making this transition, we not only seek to follow government guidelines, but also go above and beyond them to ensure the safety of all community members. This includes a self-set target of 100% vaccination for all employees, the arrangement of ongoing opportunities for vaccination of NIST families and eligible students, strict adherence to COVID-19 preventative measures on campus, and mandatory weekly antigen testing for all students and staff who will be on campus.
Vaccination & Testing
More than any other factors, vaccination and frequent testing play an essential role in slowing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. In order to receive approval for a COVID-19 school reopening, each institution was required to meet a key Thai government requirement: a vaccination rate of 85% among employees. We believe that all of our faculty and staff should be vaccinated to minimize risk. Currently, no mandate exists for student vaccinations, but we have sought to provide opportunities for this to our community through partner hospitals, including Bangkok Hospital, Bumrungrad Hospital, MedPark Hospital and Samitivej Hospital. Our nursing team also works closely with them for any positive cases identified in the community.
of our procedures and safety measures are in compliance with government requirements
of all students and employees must submit negative ATK results to enter campus
of all NIST employees have been vaccinated, with many now receiving third booster shots
of all eligible students have been vaccinated, with more scheduled in the coming weeks
Campus Entry Requirements & Limitations
To ensure that we can maintain a safe environment for students and limit any potential spread of illness, campus access will currently be limited to students, faculty and staff. Parents and family helpers will not be allowed to enter the campus, except in cases in which those with children in the Early Years or Year 1 must walk them to our Early Years Centre in the morning. All other visitors can enter by appointment only, and must submit an antigen test result, and a health and safety declaration.
Daily ATK testing
NIST ID cards
Administering an Antigen Test Kit for Your Child
- Explain the test, and why it is important, to your child in simple terms.
- Reassure them that the process is brief, particularly if using a nasal swab.
- Show them one of the videos below to help them understand what will happen.
- Verbally check as you administer the test to ensure that they are okay.
Positive Case Protocol & Risk Assignment
To ensure that we can minimize any potential spread of COVID-19 at NIST, we maintain a clear policy and procedure for managing positive cases. This process is overseen by our COVID-19 Response Coordinator. Upon receiving a positive antigen test kit result, we conduct contact tracing to identify any other individuals who are at high, medium or low risk based on our risk assignment guide. When the result is confirmed via an RT-PCR test, the protocol for each risk level is confirmed. Depending on the type of contact, this may include daily ATK result submission and/or self-isolation.
If the positive case is identified as a student or teacher who was present on campus, we follow our classroom protocol in line with government requirements. This includes closing the classroom for a period of up to three days and shifting to online learning. Multiple cases would entail a classroom closure for a period based on government recommendations.
A Guide to Self-Isolating at Home
As Thailand and other countries continue to move toward a full reopening, with students returning to schools and parents returning to the workplace, we must begin learning how to live with COVID-19. Scientists and researchers predict that the illness will continue to spread sporadically within populations in the coming years. Therefore, we must anticipate that cases can and will occur within families, even as vaccination rates increase. Should you need to quarantine at home, the following recommendations may help in keeping your family safe.